An arbitrator has awarded $32.4 million to several plaintiffs in the wake of a fatal fire truck crash in Kansas City.
The fire truck, driven by Dominic Biscari, ran a red light on Dec. 15, 2021 and crashed into a 2004 Honda CRV, killing the driver, Jennifer Lynne San Nicolas, and her passenger, Michael Elwood.
The truck impaled the CRV and pushed it onto the sidewalk and into a building that housed a well-known Kansas City music venue, the Riot Room. Pedestrian Tami Knight died when she was pushed into the building and was buried in the rubble. Her boyfriend, Alexander Llera, was injured and left traumatized.
Survivors of San Nicholas, Elwood and Knight brought wrongful death suits. Llera filed a personal injury suit, and Broadway-Westport Property Inc., which owned the building, filed a claim for its extensive damage.
According to the arbitration award, Biscari was a city employee and was on duty when the crash occurred, but the city declined to provide him with counsel. The groups of plaintiffs agreed to bring their various claims before a single arbitrator.
Jackson County Circuit Judge Jennifer Phillips is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing in February. Attorneys for each of the plaintiffs declined to comment while the case is ongoing.
Wrongful death, motor vehicle collision
Breakdown: $9,000,000 to Elwood’s parents, Russell and Barabra Elwood; $11,000,000 to Knight’s mother, Peggy Ross; $9,000,000 to San Nicolas’ mother, Judy Holland; $2,000,000 to LLera; $1,400,000 to building owners
Venue: Jackson County
Case Number/Date: 2216-CV24030/Oct. 14, 2022
Arbitrator: J. Miles Sweeney
Caption: Russell and Barabra Elwood, Judy Holland, Peggy Ross, Alexander Llera and Broadway-Westport Inc. v. Dominic Biscari
Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Tim Dollar, Dollar Burns Becker & Hershewe, Kansas City (for Elwoods); David Frye, Lathrop GPM, Kansas City (for Holland); David Smith, David R. Smith PC, Kansas City, Colin D. Stoner, cdstoner LLC, Kansas City, and Michael Yonke, Yonke Law, Kansas City (for Ross); Jarrett Johnson, The Jarrett Johnson Law Firm, Kansas City (for Llera); Christopher Schaedig and Paul Casetta, Denenberg Tuffley, Southfield, Michigan (for Broadway-Westport Property Inc.)
Defendant’s Attorney: None